Why Tesla Sued the Swedish Transportation Agency and Postal Service

Tesla has sued the Swedish Transport Agency and postal service after a strike halted the delivery of license plates.

A line of black Tesla Model Y electric vehicles on production line at Gigafactory
(Image credit: Patrick Pleul/Getty Images)

Tesla has filed lawsuits against both the Swedish Transport Agency and PostNord, Sweden’s provider of postal services, for a strike blocking the delivery of license plates for new Tesla vehicles, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The strike is specifically targeting Tesla, with postal workers joining in solidarity with mechanics, who are fighting to have a union recognized. 

In the lawsuit filed against the transportation agency Monday, Tesla argued the agency has a “constitutional obligation to provide registration plates to vehicle owners” and that the postal service’s action “cannot be described in any other way than as a unique attack on a company operating in Sweden,” according to CNBC. Tesla filed a separate lawsuit against the postal service, according to Bloomberg.

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Tesla received a quick response from the Norrköping District Court and was issued a temporary injunction granting it the right to take delivery of the license plates that were being withheld from it. 

The transportation agency must arrange delivery of the license plates within seven days or it will face a fine of one million Swedish kronor, which is equivalent to about $96,000, per Bloomberg, and the agency confirmed it received the court’s decision and was prepared to deliver the plates to Tesla.

“The agency now needs to look into the decision and what consequences it might have for us and what we have to take into account to execute the decision,” Anna Berggrund, director of the Swedish Transportation Agency's Department of Vehicle Information, told Bloomberg in a statement. “It is too early to say what that would mean in further detail."

Kiplinger has reached out to PostNord for comment.

What led to Tesla suing in Sweden?

IF Metall, a trade union with over 300,000 members, has been on strike since October 27 at service centers and workshops after Tesla declined to sign a collective bargaining agreement that sought to bring “good wages, pensions and insurance for all Tesla employees.” IF Metall says that Tesla’s refusal to sign a collective bargaining agreement forced the strike

Other trade unions, including dockworkers at Sweden’s four largest ports, 53 painting companies and postal workers, joined the strike in solidarity, the AP said.

“This is insane,” Elon Musk posted on X.com, formerly Twitter, on November 23 in response to a public post about PostNord’s refusal to deliver license plates for new Tesla vehicles.

The Tesla Model Y is the top-selling vehicle in Sweden so far in 2023, with 14,078 registrations to-date, according to Mobility Sweden.

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.